1. ITV Report

£multi-million fraud gang jailed

Jason Place, who's from Kent, ran the operation from a villa in Spain Photo: Met Police

Members of a multi million pound organised crime gang who provided fake identities and documents to thousands of customers have been jailed.

After a two and a half year investigation, the four men were found guilty at London's Southwark Crown Court.

They'd been providing bogus documents and coaching tips on how to commit fraud from an enterprise based in Alicante in Spain.

Detectives uncovered a smoothly run production line of authentic-looking documents produced for committing fraud. Many were bundled together and sold as full credit profiles, including wage slips, credit history print-outs and a postal address - making it possible for customers to defraud companies of thousands of pounds.

One of the enterprise's top end products was called platinum profile. Costing £5, 500, it came complete with instructions on how to commit identity fraud.

For £2, 000, they also sold the 100% Creditmaster profile which was exclusive to VIP members of the website.

If customers successfully committed fraud with it, CA would ask for 50% of the customer's first fraud, or threaten to wreck the credit profile.

The operation was run by Jason Place from Gravesend in Kent, and his colleague Barry Sales, from villas in Sapin - while employees based around the UK would monitor the website and work on producing fake documents, including bank statements, wage slips, driving licenses and utility bills.

Jason Place was jailed for six years and nine months for conspiracy to defraud, while Barry Sales was not prosecuted because he's terminally ill.

Of the 11, 000 clients who used their services, some spent more than £20, 000 on false documentation, and went on to commit fraud of their own which in some cases totalled more than £1 million.

Mark Powell-Richards, a credit broker and antiques dealer from Bickley in Kent, was sentenced to two years and three months for conspiracy to defraud. Allen Stringer was charged for the same term and charge, while Michael Daly from Erith in Kent was sentenced to 12 months suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid community service.

Others sentenced included Jaipal Singh Arun Thear, both from the West Midlands. All six had pleaded guilty at previous hearings.

"This was a sophisticated operation which has netted millions of pounds over the years. These cyber criminals not only provided the tools to commit fraud they instructed their clients in how to use them to make the maximum amount of money, whilst ruining real people's credit histories into the bargain. We have already brought many of their students in crime to court and will continue to work with other police forces and partners to bring those people who bought and used these identities in their own frauds to justice"

– Detective Inspector Tim Dowdeswell, Metropolitan Police

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